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 Myron van Brundt  (1887 - 1963)

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Lived/Active: Nebraska/Hawaii      Known for: painting, etching, wood carving, fabric design, art education, acting

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Ad Code: 4
Myron van Brundt
"Kahaluu Pier—my old place" Oil on canvas board, size 12" x 16"
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Myron van Brundt 1887-1963.

Painter, etcher, woodcarver, fabric designer, teacher and actor.

Myron van Brundt was born in Omaha, Nebraska on March 29, 1887.  After graduation he became an actor and traveled for a while with a theatrical stock company before beginning studies at the Chicago Art Institute for four years, followed by a further two years of study in Paris, Rome and Venice.

While in Paris he became intrigued with the batik work of two Dutch artists from Java and after some negotiating they agreed to teach him the process for a fee.  Upon his return to New York in 1914 his batik designed fabric came to the attention of the Bonwit Teller Department store who contracted to buy everything he could produce.  Their store windows soon blossomed into batik showcases.  His fabric designs were by then in great demand, particularly for stage shows — he even supervised the batiking of costumes for the original Ziegfeld show Ria Rita.  However, with the advent of World War I his career was put on hold when he joined the army.

In 1936 he moved to Hawaii at the invitation of Edith Williams and taught design, painting and woodcarving at her Kulamanu Studio in Kahala.  Two years later he was able to open his own studio in Waikiki, where he painted, taught classes and continued designing textiles.

In the 1950s he created massive batik wall hangings with Polynesian themes for the new Kaiser Hawaiian Village.

Myron van Brundt was also credited as being one of the original designers of the Aloha Shirt.  In an article dated 4/29/99, Barbara De Witt, Fashion Editor of the Daily News, Los Angeles, wrote: "Although many have copied the concept, the original Alhoa Shirts were based on the artistry of Myron van Brundt, who painted birds of paradise, fish and outrigger canoes for textile use."  Of course it didn't hurt that Montgomery Clift wore a van Brundt palm tree print shirt in the 1953 Oscar winning film From Here To Eternity.

In 1963, Martin Charlot (son of the painter Jean Charlot) made and directed an avant-garde movie in Hawaii titled Apocalypse 3:16 in which Myron van Brunt played one of the leading roles.  Unfortunately, van Brundt died just before the movie was finished, but Martin Charlot's father, Jean Charlot stepped into the van Brundt role and completed the film.  The movie premiered at The Queen Theatre, at Waialae & Center, on December 8, 1964 and in New York in 1967.

Towards the end of his life, his interest returned to sculpture in wood with inspiration coming mainly from his lifetime collection of primitive carvings from around the world.

Myon van Brundt died of a heart attack at his studio on 2045 Kuhi Avenue on November 1963.  He was 76 years old.

Dowling College Artist Colony, Long Island, New York. 1928.
Gima's Gallery, Honolulu. February 1935.
Kulana Studios, Honolulu, Hawaii. August 1936.
John Breton Storms Antique Shop, Honolulu, Hawaii. April 1957.
McInerny, Waikiki, Hawaii. October 1957.
Gumps, San Francisco, California. March 1958.
Crocker Museum and Art Gallery, Sacramento, California. February 1960.

The Mirror of Love, a play by Myron van Brundt, copyrighted in New York, 1919.

Harvard University Library Collection: A silver gelatin portrait of Myron van Brundt by noted photographer Jessie Tarbox (1870-1942) taken 1905-1915.

Garden Flowers by Robert M. McCurdy, published by Doubleday, Page & Company, 1926. Contains 18 color reproductions of flower paintings by Myron van Brundt.

Three articles on fabric design by Myron van Brundt appeared in the 1952 May, June and July issues of the Southern Garment Manufacturer, with numerous photographs of his designs and the artist at work.

Batik Art, article with photos about Myron van Brundt. The Saturday Star-Bulletin, Honolulu, January 17, 1959.

A Film Recital by Martin Charlot, Queen Theatre, Waialae at Center, Tuesday, December 8, 1964.  Program for two Charlot Films - one being the premier of Apocalypse 3:16 staring Myron van Brundt.

Aloha Joy; Designers Put A Little Hawaiian Punch Into Their Clothing This Summer. Article by Barbara De Witt, Fashion Editor, Daily News, Los Angeles, April 29, 1999.

Versatile Artist, article by Bertha Metzger, Honolulu Advertiser, February 22, 1960 about van Brundt's forthcoming show at the Crocker Museum and Art Gallery in Sacramento, California.

The Bishop Museum, Honolulu, Hawaii has a collection of his papers in their Archives. These include drafts and notes relating to his writings on the arts, batik, insects, etc., including notes on puppet theatre work and the van Brundt method of teaching painting.

Van Brundt, Art Teacher, Dies At 76. Obituary in the Honolulu Advertiser, November 1963.
Submitted by Charles Gray, Charles Gray Fine Arts.

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